All Senate Freshmen Now Have Personal PACs
After 11 months as senators, all 12 Senate freshmen in the 113th Congress now have a registered personal political action committee to raise funds and pay for some political activity from an account separate from their campaigns.
At the end of November, freshman Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, the last of the Senate freshmen to start a PAC, registered his committee, Make It Work.
These personal PACs, often called leadership PACs, primarily collect contributions from PACs of interest groups, and individuals, such as Washington lobbyists and consultants. A multi-candidate interest group PAC can give $5,000 each year to a member’s personal PAC, as compared to only $5,000 per election to a member’s campaign committee. Individuals can give $5,000 each year to a member’s pesonal PAC, as compared to $2,600 per election to a member’s campaign committee. In some cases, donors give to both the member’s personal PAC and the member’s campaign committee.
The senators use the funds to pay for political expenses, and give contributions to other senators and candidates. Members often hope their contributions to other members will improve their chances for a leadership position. Because this type of account is separate from the senator’s campaign committee, its activity is often not regularly covered by news organizations nor known to the general public in the senator’s home state.
Some of these personal PACs have different reporting dates to the Federal Election Commission, so it is difficult to evenly compare their receipts and cash on hand figures. Here are their most recent financial figures for 2013.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., $36,000 receipts through June 30, cash on hand $6,718.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, $313,323 receipts through June 30, cash on hand $183,537.
Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., $65,500 receipts through June 30, cash on hand $84,782.
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., $53,000 receipts through June 30, cash on hand $27,574 (with $15,795 in debts).
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., $86,067 receipts through Sept. 30, cash on hand $34,507.
Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., $78,621 receipts through June 30, cash on hand $10,274.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., $135,000 receipts through June 30, cash on hand $39,415.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, $121,000 receipts through June 30, cash on hand $26,819.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., $590,010 receipts through July 15, cash on hand $295,157.
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, no filings yet.
Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., $77,148, receipts through June 30, cash on hand $44,297.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., $428,000 through Nov. 5, cash on hand $171,359.
The personal PAC details for these freshmen and all other senators, showing donors, expenses paid, and contributions given to other members and candidates, may be viewed on each senator’s Political MoneyLine financial profile.